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Friday, July 15, 2011

How I won $2500 at ETA

This is the story of how I won $2500 playing poker at the North American Bancard Booth at ETA this year.

For the last ten years, ETA has been in Las Vegas every year. This year, their contract had ended with Mandalay Bay, and ETA was moved to San Diego. No gambling :-( Sadness. Or at least so I thought.

Every vendor at a trade show does whatever they can to bring people into their booth. Some vendors get extremely creative to get people into their booth. North American Bancard had a poker tournament at their booth as an incentive to get people in. So, being a poker player (not a great player, but not horrible - I'm OK), I said why not - and signed up.

There were 6 tables of 8. I was at the first table. Instantly I recognized the best player at the table (hint - it wasn't me). He was sitting at the opposite side of the table from me. It was a timed tournament. 45 minutes - person with the biggest stack goes onto the final table. 10 minutes left, there were 4 of us left. The player - sitting opposite of me - had the largest stack, by far, and it looked like he was going onto the final table. But, only a few minutes before the end of the game, I somehow took out the other two players on an "all in". My stack was suddenly the biggest at the table, and I went onto the final table.

When I got there, with the 5 other winners, I could tell every one of these guys knew how to play. Except one guy - he seemed kind of like a bit of a clown - he was obviously the worst player of the bunch of us - I could tell just by the way he carried himself and dressed.

By the end of the game, there were 4 of us left, and only about 15 minutes to go. Blinds were getting pretty high. The clown in the corner somehow had the biggest stack. He was just goofing around though - not taking the game seriously it seemed. Just like in the first game, I took the other two guys out - got lucky - on an all in. That left me and the clown, and he then ran down the clock.

Turns out the clown was the world series of blackjack champion a couple years back, and was a professional card player. I took second place, and won $2500. Woo hoo!

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